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Study: Vitamin cream can reduce wrinkles

skin cream April 23, 1998
Web posted at: 11:45 p.m. EDT (0345 GMT)

(CNN) -- A vitamin-rich cream that makes wrinkles disappear? It may sound too good to be true -- and in fact, time may prove the vitamins' effects are fleeting. But a group of French researchers said have found that applying certain vitamins and minerals to the skin can take out wrinkles.

The study, funded by cosmetic company Estee Lauder -- a well-known manufacturer of skin creams -- found clinical proof that signs of aging, including lines and wrinkles, could be reduced. Antioxidants like vitamins C and E appeared to have the greatest potential, said Daniel Annese of Estee Lauder.

"This is the first time that it's been proven antioxidants topically applied to the skin can reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles," Annese said.

The study, part of a larger eight-year study of nutrition and health in Europe, followed 160 women for 18 months. A quarter of the women used a patented cream manufactured by Estee Lauder that contained, among other things, vitamins C and E. Another quarter took a similar vitamin mixture, but by mouth. And the remainder of the women used either a placebo cream or took a placebo capsule.

The researchers -- who are members of a non-profit, independent group -- say only the women who used the vitamin-containing cream showed any positive change in wrinkling -- and it was significant. They estimate a 23 percent reduction in the appearance of lines and wrinkles for this group after 18 months of treatment.

Made public on Thursday, the study is expected to be published in a medical journal in May. The scientific community is reserving judgment until independent researchers can examine the French group's work.

But dermatologists, including Dr. Carl Washington of Emory University in Atlanta, say the news doesn't surprise them. Washington says he has seen antioxidants greatly improve the skin of patients in clinics; a number of products already contain antioxidants for this purpose.

However, they can provide only a temporary, cosmetic effect, Washington added.

"It definitely does not reverse damage. In fact, the benefits you see with those products are only maintained as long as you use them, so as soon as you discontinue the product, you are back to where you were," Washington said.

Antioxidants reduce the appearance of wrinkles by irritating the skin, which prompts it to direct moisture to the aid of the irritated spot. The moisture plumps the skin up, making wrinkles less obvious.

"I'm not suggesting they are reversing the aging, but they certainly can conceal the end result of aging, which is wrinkles and some of the blemishes," Washington said.

And since antioxidant creams will not permanently undo skin damage, dermatologists say the best course of action is to prevent harming your skin in the first place, by limiting time in the sun, and wearing an adequate sunscreen.

Correspondent Linda Ciampa and Reuters contributed to this report.


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